Author: Rae Else
Series: Arete #1
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
There are lots of stories about the children of gods. But what about those cursed by the gods, and their descendants…
El, a seventeen-year-old has inherited an ancient and deadly power. She loses control of it, causing a horrific accident, and becomes the prey of a secret organisation, known as the Order.
Forced from her family and home, she hides in plain sight amidst the crowds of London, and is thrust into a world she never knew existed; one full of arete: beings with extraordinary powers like hers.
Arete are beings that can trace their lineage and powers from ancient Greece. They do not claim their inheritance comes from the gods, rather legend says they are descended from cursed beings, such as Medusa.
At the heart of their world is the kerykeion, the symbol that protects them from the humans and the humans from them. El is trapped between two factions, one that has built an empire around the kerykeion and another that is determined to bring it down.
As she is drawn deeper into the conflict, the only way to find the truth is to take matters into her own hands, and the line between friend and foe becomes dangerously blurred.
Descendants is the first book in the Young Adult, Urban Fantasy trilogy: The Arete Series.
Source: Review copy from the author
This book provides excellent reasons for why lying to someone their whole life is a bad idea. El knows she’s different, knows she has a dangerous power that has descended through her ancestors from a curse of Medusa, but what she doesn’t know is that she is not alone. There’s a whole world out there of people descended from Greek curses – and she’s about to find herself in the middle of their war.
Playing around with Greek mythology, this is a solid start to the series. We get to see the destructive force of El’s power right at the start and enter the world of the Arete alongside her, similarly struggling to work out which side is good and which is bad and which lies are worse than others. There is a lot going on and a lot of world-building to do, but this book does a good job of laying the groundwork for what’s to come. There are also some pretty neat fights in the second half that made me wish the whole book had been about that.
Because, despite the good points, this book isn’t perfect. Mostly because the characters aren’t particularly well developed. El is a rather lifeless main character. Yes, she has a lot to deal with, but she’s not particularly interesting on her own. A little more personality would have been nice. She seems rather distant from everything that happens and it didn’t really endear her to me. Then there’s the training and the power and how convenient it is that she can learn all she needs in a week to fight against people who have been training their whole lives. That really didn’t help.
There’s also a potential love triangle brewing. I hate love triangles. I also hate that neither guy seems worth the effort. One is the brooding bad guy, who El should resent and dislike rather than have the hots for, and the other is a bit wishy-washy and more of a devoted puppy than anything stronger. As a good friend, I could believe it, but a love interest is a bit more of a stretch.
So overall I’d say it’s a good start with lots of potential, but I personally need more from the characters in order to love it. There are a few twists in the plot, plenty of mystery and a nice amount of action, all of which make it an enjoyable read. If you happen to like Greek mythology too, and are intrigued about getting away from the gods for a change, then you’ll probably like this. I’d be interest to see where the series heads next.
Descendants is Out Now.
Visit Rae Else for more details.